No reporter looks forward to covering tragedy. When the beat guy is sitting at his desk and hears that police scanner sound the fire alarm, there is a rush of adrenaline followed immediately by a feeling of dread.
This weekend, a house fire in Colfax dealt a blow to a family living on the city’s west end. The homeowner, Donna Noftsger, could do nothing but watch as fire fighters battled to save her home. As a reporter, you have to battle through the emotion and muster up the courage to talk to someone who’s life was just turned upside down.
The scene was chaotic, with EMS personnel tending to fatigued firefighters, water gushing from the bottle of pump trucks and neighbors lining the corners to get a look. But amid the turmoil a circle of people caught my eye. A group of family and friends encompassed Noftsger, chatting, hugging and laughing when they could. The tears were evident, but the support given to the Colfax resident was powerful.
The comments of thoughts and prayers appeared on social media as quickly as the news unfolded. With each additional photo or update from the scene, community residents, neighbors and friends were quick to show their support.
Colfax residents know their neighbor’s story. She lost her husband 10 months prior to Saturday’s fire, and her home was badly damaged during the floods of 2010. Reporting on this tragedy gave me hope, knowing her difficult road to rebuild would be in the company of a caring community.